Anti-Spa Beauty: Naked Beauty Bar

A photo posted by Naked Beauty Bar (@nakedbeautybar) on

Last month I travelled to Toronto to visit a friend and to see how the city I used to live in was getting on. Oh, and it’s on. Toronto is a special city in Canada: it has, for most of Canadian history, been its economic engine; it is truly multicultural; it’s both artistic and entrepreneurial; and it has a transportation system that works. Toronto is English Canada’s aspirational self–and that’s why the rest of Canada hates it. You see, Toronto thinks that it is the only show in town, yet has enough craziness that non-Torontonians can laugh at it. We laugh at our aspirational self in order to disregard the importance and remarkability of the city, as if to say, “Toronto, you’re really not that hype”, but it is. Sorry to break it to you, but it’s true.

My friend set-up an appointment at Naked Beauty Bar in the Dundas West area of Toronto. I must admit, I wasn’t too jazzed about the idea. First off, I didn’t want to walk into a nail salon where the air was saturated with toxic chemicals; secondly, I didn’t want an atmosphere that seemed more like an assembly line, rather than a relaxing, chill experience; thirdly, I don’t want to feel as though I am supporting human trafficking because many of those salons look sketchy; and lastly, I didn’t want to be getting my nails done in a place where the aestheticians spend their time talking to each other in another language, one where you don’t know if they’re talking about you. This is a common experience with lower-end nail salons.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the higher-end nail salons that cost an arm and a leg for services where the price is not reflected in the quality. In addition, you are paying for the “spa experience” that is supposed to be relaxing within an serene environment, to which I say, “boring”. Why does every aesthetic service have to come with a “spa experience” and the price tag to go with it? Sometimes I just want my nails done in a cool environment with friendly people and some music blasting–sometimes I want my nail experience to be retrospective. I want to feel like I’m hanging out with my girls, doing our nails and talking and laughing as though I was at a teenaged sleepover. This is the experience Naked Beauty Bar provides at a price that won’t break the bank. This change in the experiene is known as the anti-spa movement in aesthetics services.

A photo posted by Naked Beauty Bar (@nakedbeautybar) on

(Yes, this is me)

The owners of Naked are two sisters, Julia and Gabrielle Bautista, who saw a vacancy in mid-market aesthic services for people who want to maintain a groomed appearance without having to spend a day in a spa-like setting, or who do not want to feel like they’re breaking labour laws just to get a fresh pedicure. I paid $45 for their mani-pedi combo, which allowed me to purchase a LoveFresh sugar scrub that is deliciously effective in softening the skin. Their focus is more on the trendy scale, with an ability to create vibrant and glitzy nail art, as well as offering eyelash extensions and other artistic aesthetic conceptions.

If you’re ever in Toronto and need your nails done, I suggest that you hit up Naked Beauty Bar.
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